Department of the Environment

About us | Contact us | Publications

header imagesheader imagesheader images

Publications archive - Ecologically Sustainable Development

Disclaimer

Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Are We Sustaining Australia? Report Against Headline Sustainabilty Indicators

Environment Australia, 2002
ISBN 0 642 54771 8


Value 2: Education and Skills

Rationale for inclusion of issue

Education is an essential component of individual and community well-being for its own sake, in terms of enabling people to develop their intellectual potential and maximising their capacity to deal with all aspects of life. It also impacts on individual and community welfare, in terms of providing individuals with access to economic opportunity and contributing to the economic development of a nation.

Indicator 3

Percentage of people aged 25-64 who have attained upper secondary and/or higher level of qualifications at 2000

64.3%

Source: ABS Transition from Education to Work Survey, May 2000.

Rationale for selection of indicator

The indicator was selected on the basis that it is an internationally standardised measure of educational level reached. Secondary education is expected to provide the minimum skills one needs to get by with a reasonable level of self-sufficiency within a modern community. The percentage of individuals with secondary and above education is therefore a direct indicator of the general educational well-being of the community, whereas percentage with tertiary qualifications is more of an indicator of the likelihood that education is contributing to the well-being of the community.

Explanatory and elaborative information

The indicator shows that 64.3% of Australians aged 25 to 64 have completed either secondary education or some form of tertiary qualification including basic and skilled vocational qualifications such as apprenticeships.

Over the last three decades the number of students participating in year 12 as a percentage of the entrants to secondary school five or six years earlier has increased from only 22.7% in 1968 to 72.3% in 1999. Additionally, a very substantial minority (43.7%) of individuals aged 15-64 had attained post-school educational qualifications in 1999.

The indicator does not answer the question of whether the educational standard provided by secondary and tertiary education has been maintained or declined over the period. Supplementary data such as adult literacy and numeracy rates should be consulted before any firm conclusions are drawn.

Apparent retention to year 12, by type of school -Time series data

Year %

Government %

Catholic non-government %

Other %

All schools %

1968

20.4

27.5

76.3

22.7

1971

25.9

33.9

81.7

30.6

1974

27.3

39.1

90.3

32.9

1979

28.9

44.1

87.1

34.7

1984

38.4

54.6

92.7

45

1989

54.3

66

97.9

60.3

1992

73.8

76

101.5

77.1

1994

70.6

75.3

97.3

74.6

1999

66.4

77.4

95.5

72.3

Apparent retention to year 12, by type of school by year

Apparent retention to year 12, by type of school by year

Source: ABS Cat No.1301.0, 2001,Yearbook Australia.

Supplementary indicators